AFC complete perfect week by demonstrating ugly side

SO CLOSE: Ollie Hughes is inches away from giving the home side the lead on Tuesday night
SO CLOSE: Ollie Hughes is inches away from giving the home side the lead on Tuesday night
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RYMAN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE NORTH: AFC Sudbury 1 Wroxham 0: AFC Sudbury assistant boss Steve Eastaugh was pleased with his side’s ability to show another side to their game on Tuesday, in a hard-fought win.

The Yellows completed a maximum six-point haul for the first week of the season with summer signing Craig Pope’s 69th-minute glancing header proving enough to overcome Wroxham.

A scrappy affair desperately short on clear-cut chances was compared to Saturday’s emphatic win at Cray Wanderers as ‘chalk and cheese’ by Eastaugh, who continued to take charge against his former club with manager David Batch still away.

But he was pleased to see AFC able to show an important attribute, by winning when they were clearly not at their best.

“In terms of a performance I thought we were below-par, it was not particularly fluent, especially in the first half,” he said.

“But these are the kind of games that if you grind out three points you look back on it in a month or two months time and say that was a well-earned three points.

“It is a clean sheet and a first win at home.

“We know we can play better and ultimately we will play better but in terms of points you can’t have a better start, with six out of six and we go into Saturday full of confidence knowing we have had a great start.”

With striker Jake Reed having made the mistake of driving to Wroxham, 17-year-old Jordan Blackwell was given a start in one change from Saturday’s opening day win.

Wroxham, who included former AFC striker Jamie Forshaw up front, went close early on with Christy Finch lashing over following a corner.

At the other end, Blackwell’s strike partner Ollie Hughes, available for two more matches before he goes off to teach in Gran Canaria, came agonizingly close to converting Lee Flynn’s dangerous corner, which fizzed across the six-yard box, at the far post.

The chances soon dried up though as both teams, matching each other’s 4-4-2 diamond formations, cancelled each other out in a half littered with free-kicks.

Blackwell got a rare opportunity to run clear on Henshaw’s long ball, but Elliot Pride was out smartly to block, while Hughes put past the post.

Blackwell also saw a penalty appeal waved away after he was nudged off the ball.

The second half became another war of attrition with AFC dictacting play but finding openings rare.

Archer, in the AFC goal, had to punch clear Daniel Self’s dangerous free-kick in his first real action, while at the other end Lawrence Yiga headed straight at Pride.

The breakthrough finally arrived from another excellent set-piece from Flynn, with Pope showing good movement to peel off his man before planting his angled header across Pride into the far post.

The visitors pushed for an equaliser but were restricted to long-range efforts, while substitute Reed almost toe-poked beyond Pride.

A bright spot was a first-team debut for recently recruited teenage midfielder Josh Kerridge, who didn’t look out of place.

Eastaugh hopes to have James Baker (hamstring) back for Thamesmead Town’s visit on Saturday (3pm), while wide man Kris Newby (suspension) will have to wait for Monday’s trip to Aveley (7.45pm) to make his competitive debut, after signing from Witham Town.